Neyers 2010 Syrah, Old Lakeville Road, Sonoma Coast
Pigeage is the French word for crushing grapes by foot, a traditional practice in the northern Rhone Valley, and at Neyers Vineyards. Whole clusters of grapes are dumped directly into a fermentation tank, and a worker wearing flexible waders walks in circles on top of these whole berries for 30 minutes or so. The process is normally repeated twice daily, and after a week or so enough juice has been released by the process that the cap can be manually 'punched down', to stay in contact with the fermenting juice. With Syrah in particular, traditional pigeage results in a wine with better color, less tannin and a more complex aroma. International Wine Cellar scored this 92 points saying "Bright, saturated ruby-red. Sexy perfume of raspberry, lavender, candied flowers, spice cake and bacon fat, accented by black pepper. Sweet, lush and smooth, with a creamy texture that reminded me more of the southern Rhone than the north. Shows a liqueur-like quality to the lightly saline raspberry and game flavors. Very sexy syrah, with soft tannins."